Viewpoint: Dead days are wasted days

By Austin Eck

Gosh, I hate finals, but who likes them?

As the last couple days of classes end, Baylor students near the dreaded finals period. It seems that I always get stuck with a final on the last day of finals, so I watch as the campus slowly becomes a ghost town. It is the loneliest feeling in the world waking up on that last gray, cold morning and driving to that last final.

The parking garage is empty, the sidewalks are vacant and the halls are desolate.

But, before that lonely period of finals there are two marvelous days of complete freedom. These are known as the dead days.

The intention is for these days are for students to have time away from classes to study for upcoming finals, but they aren’t used as such. Instead these days are used for one thing: procrastination.

Of course, it does not start out that way. I dream of waking up early, cracking the books, studying all day and knocking all of my exams out of the park.

Then the alarm clock starts to ring, and the war with the snooze button begins.

Every nine minutes, it calls out to me, but I hit the snooze alarm comforted that there is nothing to be late to. Then on the fourth cycle through the snooze, I do something dangerous. I turn the alarm off and go back to sleep. Next thing I know, it is 12:45 p.m., and I am just now waking up.

I know I’m not the only one because when I send a text asking someone if they want to meet up and study they tell me, “No. I just woke up.”

The day is not lost though. I still can get a good few hours of studying done, but look at all those dishes in the sink and the floors that could be cleaned.

Next thing I know, my apartment is spotless, and I deserve a break. After watching an hour of ESPN, I have no momentum to study, but that’s OK. I still have tomorrow to prepare for my finals. Tomorrow is a new day, and tomorrow is always a day away.

On the second day, I wake up when the alarm goes off. I get out of bed, and start to go through some PowerPoint slides from one of my classes.

“Okay. I know all of this,” I say to myself, but day two pans out a lot like the day before. I start finding anything to distract me including watching instructional painting videos on YouTube. I’ve never bought an easel or a paintbrush in my life, and I never plan on it. Those videos are easier to watch then to face the truth that I have to study.

Around 10 p.m., I am stressed. I have a final tomorrow morning, and all I have done is go through the slides for the class. I have no choice but to do what so many other students do, I pull an all-nighter.

I walk into the exam the next morning stressed and still wearing the same clothes as the day before.

A look around tells me peers fared no better.

Every semester — including this one — I tell myself that I will not fall victim to procrastination, and every semester I find myself going out and buying the paraphernalia to learn how to crochet or anything else to pass an hour.

Austin Eck is a senior journalism major from Boerne. He is a reporter for The Lariat.